Big data to inform traffic safety policy in Addis Ababa

October 9, 2023

Rush hour in Addis Ababa

The world is a dangerous place. According to the latest WHO data some 1.3 million people lose their lives each year due to traffic crashes. 90 percent of those who die from traffic accidents live in low- and middle-income countries, with Africa witnessing the highest rates for road traffic injury deaths. 

The causes are all connected yet many urban approaches to managing roads still centre heavily on economic objectives rather than the need for road safety. To produce positive road safety outcomes, strong management in all aspects of road safety is key. 

Many cities have created and adopted urban mobility plans and strategies. However, the data used to inform these strategies often come from siloed sources. Helpful insights that could be used to inform traffic safety policy remained a challenge.

UNDP Ethiopia’s Accelerator Lab has partnered with InnoConnect, a Czech SME focused on mobility-related data analytics, and Addis Ababa Traffic Management Agency (TMA), to perform a deep analysis of traffic safety to identify high-risk locations and visualise specific information about single-car accidents in Addis Ababa city.

Big data-driven insights from the analysis inform policymakers and city operators with in-depth knowledge of factors that increase the risk of severe accidents to make decisions that help to improve traffic safety in Addis Ababa. The experimental project is implemented with the financial support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic through the Czech-UNDP Partnership for SDGs.

InnoConnect released the Road Crash Analytical Map of Addis Ababa during the road safety workshop that was held with road safety experts on 30 August 2023. The map helps city decision-makers at different levels of governance gain data-driven insights to better design, implement and evaluate measures aimed at reducing fatal and severe road crashes. 

The stakeholders, which included the Traffic Management Agency of Addis Ababa, traffic police, G&Y Engineering Consult, and the Bloomberg Initiative for Global Road Safety, exchanged on the crash data collection and management, shared experience on data cleaning and interpretation and discussed road safety policies in Ethiopia.

According to the 2022 Global Road Safety Facility report," Despite the frequency of walking in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, sidewalks across the city are often inaccessible and unsafe, contributing to the loss of roughly 500 lives on the city’s roads each year, of which 76 percent are pedestrians."

Road Crash Analytical Map of Addis Ababa

Jiri Bouchal, CEO and co-founder at InnoConnect demonstrated the broad functionalities of the newly released Road Crash Analytical Map. The web application allows a detailed analysis of road crash data to identify high-risk locations, get in-depth knowledge of factors that increase the risk of severe incidents, and visualise specific information about single crashes. Jiri shared InnoConnect’s experience of the processing and cleaning of road crash data provided by the Ethiopian partners, suggested improvements in the categorisation of attributes, stressed the importance of accuracy of the crash data collected by police and demonstrated what information on road crashes is collected in police statistics. 

Addis Ababa's traffic safety experts identified the added value of the analytical map for their policy-making as well as daily police operations, especially for the following needs:    
    Crash blackspot management     
    Identification of locations to implement low-speed zones    
    Intelligence-led policing     
    Monitoring and evaluation     
    Evaluating the effectiveness of interventions     

Learnings from the process have contributed towards Addis Ababa Traffic Management Agency (TMA) efforts to improve the process of collecting crash records which is supported by the Bloomberg Initiative for Global Road Safety. 

Improvements include new standard electronic crash forms to be filled by police officers, an increase in data quality thanks to training police personnel on how to collect and record the information on road crashes, as well as the establishment of an IT infrastructure that will store the data from the whole city in a single database and will thus allow an efficient analysis by the TMA's data unit.     

Road safety workshop with key stakeholder in Addis Ababa, 30 August 2023